Inside the Beltway, the focus of the political press is primarily devoted to splits within the Republican Party over the abject implosion of their strategy to forestall the implementation of the president’s executive orders on immigration via funding for the Department of Homeland Security. And that is a perfectly reasonable response. The Republicans’ strategic failures and ignominious retreats amid a fight that they picked are inexcusable.
As Allahpundit observed on Monday, Republicans gave in to nearly every Democratic demand. The Senate GOP leadership introduced two separate bills that break up the fight over DHS funding and the struggle to prevent the implementation of DAPA. Instead, they will seek to force Democrats who have said that they oppose Obama’s executive actions but won’t vote to defund DHS to make good on their rhetorical commitments.
Rather than simply move forward on a bill that funds DHS cleanly, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is stalling. He claims that he needs to see the Republican-led House pass a new bill that also funds DHS without any provision relating to Obama’s executive actions before he will instruct his members to act. “Unless Boehner’s in on the deal, it won’t happen,” Reid insisted.
“Not only did the GOP cave, but now Reid’s going to twist the knife by demanding that Boehner agree before the Senate votes to push McConnell’s ‘clean’ DHS bill, knowing full well that Boehner likely can’t guarantee that it’ll pass — certainly not without Democratic votes,” Allahpundit noted. “He’s rubbing Republicans’ faces in their own strategic failure.”
Indeed he is, and any partisan liberal would take a measure of delight in Reid’s taunts as Republicans grow acquainted with their inability to outmaneuver their Democratic counterparts. It’s hard to begrudge liberals their moment of schadenfreude, but many in the press are not making much of an effort to hide the fact that they are inclined to indulge as well.
But where is the absurd, over-the-top rhetoric from the press and from Republicans attacking Democrats for balking at meeting the GOP halfway in order to prevent what the president’s party claims would be a disastrous DHS shutdown? Ahead of the government shutdown of 2013, Democrats and their allies in the media had no qualms about directly equating Republicans with violent extremists who were intentionally putting lives at risk in order to advance their agenda.
“When hostage takers see that their demands are met, they release the hostage,” Tomasky observed. “But what makes anyone think today’s Republicans will ever release the hostage? No—if the Democrats agree to negotiate, the demands will never stop.”
“What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest,” former White House communications advisor Dan Pfeiffer insisted. “It’s not a negotiation if I show up at your house and say give me everything inside or I’m going to burn it down.”
This absurd competition to engage in excessive rhetorical overreach didn’t strike many in the press as all that untoward at the time. A political media that self-immolated over the effrontery of Scott Walker’s refusal to gauge the president’s level of devotion to his faith was only mildly put off by the left’s determination to equate the GOP with bloodstained murderers. How odd.
Today, Harry Reid is doing the hostage taking. The Democrats in the Senate majority are failing to observe that “elections have consequences” despite the fact that Mitch McConnell is at liberty to echo Obama and lecture his Democratic colleagues on the fact that “I won.” Still, Democrats are embracing every privilege available to the minority party even if that results in a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. Not only does the political press not find this approach irresponsible, they seem to be relishing in the deft politics displayed by Democrats as they impale the GOP on their own sword. Odder still.
Those who would accuse the political press of inconsistency on this matter are wrong. It seems as though the best interests of the country are not nearly as pressing when the Democrats are the party jeopardizing them. What’s more, the fact that Republican leaders are leaving it to bloggers to make this point in their defense is positively maddening.
UPDATE: Just prior to the publication of this post, Reid agreed to drop the filibuster of the DHS funding measure and to send the House a clean bill that funds the agency. Thus, robbing the press and the political class of an opportunity to display consistency.